The gorgeous sun-drenched island of Barbados boasts over one hundred kilometers of beaches surrounding lush countryside. Thee 80 pristine white-sand beaches include many that are recognised as the most beautiful beaches in the world.
On the Caribbean side, turquoise waters bathe silky sand and coral reefs. While on the Atlantic coast, high waves and strong winds attract surfers from around the world.
There’s so much to see and experience on this lively island! Brace yourself for thrills of a lifetime, accented with moments of serenity .… From hot night-spots to chilling on the beach. From the oldest working windmill in the Western Hemisphere to indulging in gourmet cuisine. From visiting magnificent limestone caves to spotting exotic wildlife……
Holetown is where the English first set foot on Barbados and today this quaint town is bordered on either side, north and south, by world rated golf courses. Holetown has now become the hospitality centre of Barbados, with several of its major hotels and restaurants and golf courses either in or near the old town.
There are all inclusive properties on the island but traditionally accommodation does not include all meals – leaving you free to explore restaurants on the island from family owned eateries to haute cuisine. As well as top class resort hotels you will find a complete range from historic properties to boutique hotels, villas and cottages.
Bajan cuisine brings together African, Caribbean, West Indian and European influences for a unique, authentic gastronomic experience. Sea food is the mainstay, including flying fish – the national symbol of Barbados. For a fun atmosphere of music and food, and to rub shoulders with the locals, there’s the famous Oistin’s fish fry every week.
Barbados also has AAA rated restaurants, and the Zagat Survey credits it with some of the Caribbean's finest cuisine. Celebrity chefs from around the world will join the best Barbados chefs at the Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival in November.
Holetown is where the English first set foot on Barbados. Henry Powell was blown off course to arrive in Barbados in 1625. Powell came back shortly afterwards to settle - the first English Settlement in Barbados was at Holetown, where the first Royal Standard was raised, the first five plantations established, and the first gun-powder fortifications erected.
Barbados is the birthplace of rum and the history goes back to even before 1703 when the first known brand – Mount Gay Rum - began manufacture. The George Washington House, a restored mid-18th century plantation residence still survives.
Barbados has its roots in the plantation slavery economy resulting in a unique blend of West African and European culture. History is everywhere from 17th century Jacobean Mansions, to the Morgan Lewis Mill, one of only two intact sugar mills in the Caribbean to Gun Hill Signal Station - one of a series of Signal Stations built in 1818, and commanding a panoramic view of the landscape below,
Barbados is the oldest continuing parliamentary democracy outside England. It achieved universal voting rights in 1943 and opted for full independence from the UK in 1966 – so this year celebrates 50 years as an independent nation. You can visit the Parliament Buildings as part of a tour of historic Bridgetown, which celebrates over 380 years of English Settlement. Bridgetown and its Garrison are considered ‘an outstanding example of British colonial architecture and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There is lots to do in Barbados. This is an island with a packed annual calendar including world-class sports, music festivals, theatre performances and a much-loved Barbados carnival.
Barbados is often referred to as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean. The Festival has a series of colourful and flavourful culinary and beverage experiences designed to tantalize the taste buds and stimulate the other senses as well. Experience a sophisticated, high-quality and upscale celebration of gastronomic art, featuring acclaimed international & local chefs, wine experts and mixologists.
Classical Pops is a one-of-a kind music festival in the Caribbean. Audiences experience a unique blend of classical, contemporary, jazz, opera and world music in a beautiful outdoor location at the Apes Hill Club. The Classical Pops orchestra, each year comprises members of some of the world's foremost symphonies, under the direction of leading conductors. Music includes familiar favourites from the worlds of Film, Broadway and Opera.
The Run Barbados Series takes place on the first Sunday in December and includes a full marathon, half-marathon, 10k run, 5k run and toddlers' walk. It is a weekend-long sporting event accredited by the International Association of Marathons and is surrounded by much entertainment and festivities.
The professional runners are motivated by their standings in the field, but fun and entertainment are a big part of the festivities as well. Steelpan bands amuse the crowd at the finish line. Later in the day, people are often charmed by DJ XRAY, a longtime racing participant who only takes to the stage after his own event has been run. As the slogan of the event declares—“Come For The Run, Stay For The Fun!”
A family attraction commemorating the first landing and settlement in Barbados on February 17, 1627, the Holetown Festival celebrates folk, gospel and medieval music. There is a street parade and fair and a torch-lit evening exhibition by the Royal and Mounted Police forces as they perform the floodlit Tattoo. Other activities include poetry, drama, sidewalk art shows, sports, games, local handicrafts markets and the popular Queen of the Festival Pageant.
This most sophisticated festival offers an exciting season of opera, classical, jazz, Latin and Caribbean music and takes place at the historic Holders Plantation House, situated on a ridge overlooking what were once extensive sugar and tobacco fields. The event, which is internationally recognized and has attracted such musical luminaries as Luciano Pavarotti, is currently focused on the development and exhibition of local talent.
A two-day event, the Oistins Fish Festival celebrates the livelihood of the namesake fishing village, paying tribute to the skills of local fisherman and challenging them with competitions in fishing, crab racing, fish boning and boat racing. Dance to steel bands or mingle on the beach or in the marketplace and rum shops that line the roadside. Food stalls, arts and crafts and demonstrations by the Coast Guard are also part of the activities.
This five-week summer festival is Barbados' most popular and colourful festival. Its origins can be traced back to the 1780's, a time when Barbados was the world's largest producer of sugar. At the end of the sugar season, there was always a huge celebration to mark the culmination of another successful sugar cane harvest. Celebrations include a folk festival, calypso, carnivals, Cohobblopot carnival like show, Kiddies Kadooment costumes and parade.
Activities in Barbados have to start in the water. Watersports including jet-skiing at the ever-lively Mullins Beach, boogie boarding and paddle boarding at Pebbles Beach, surfing at the Soup Bowl and on Atlantic Shores, and high-octane kitesurfing at Silver Sands. On the south and west coasts, a multitude of small boats offer short trips to swim with the turtles. You can skipper a Hobie Cat or kayak, try your hand at spearfishing, take a deep-sea fishing charter, or spend a day aboard a luxury catamaran, cruising crystal-clear seas like a celebrity.
Cricket is the national passion and you'll find it played by amateurs on the pastures and beaches of Barbados and by international celebrities on the manicured grounds of the Barbados Cricket Association's Kensington Oval.
Sports holiday enthusiasts flock to the island to play golf - Barbados is home to several courses designed by world-leading architects. Experience horse racing in Barbados at the historic Garrison Savannah, and join the jet set for an afternoon at exclusive polo clubs around the island. Motorsport enthusiasts head over to Bushy Park Racing Circuit, and sailors raise full canvas to compete in the annual round-the-island race.
Here are Nine Premier Attractions of Barbados:
1. Atlantis Submarines -19.5m sub diving to 45m; the Atlantis SeaTrek takes you to see wrecks and the coral reef.
2. Bajan Roots and Rhythms - a premier cultural show including steel bands.
3. Barbados Golf Club - The 6,805 yard par 72 golf course has been approved and sanctioned by the PGA European Tour to host a PGA Seniors Tournament and has hosted the Barbados Open.
4. The Harbour Master - ‘the best cruise in the Caribbean’ offers a semi-submersible with slides, a rope swing and snorkelling.
5. Harrison’s Cave - there is a visitor centre, tram tour, waterfalls, stalagmites, underground streams and more.
6. Island Safari - 4x4 Land Rover tours offer you adventure and exploration. Visit Edge Cliff, Bathsheba, Joe’s River Forest and canefields. The tour is great for kids with professional driver/guides and opportunities for kayaking, snorkelling, catamarans and swimming.
7. The Jolly Roger - this authentic pirate themed wooden schooner is ideal for a family outing or a group party. Known for their rum punch, rope swinging, and walking the plank.
8. Mount Gay Rum Tour - a 45 minutes tour to one of world’s oldest rum distilleries.
9. Tiami Cruises - luxury "Cats" skim you comfortably over the Caribbean sea with the wind in your face and a drink in your hand. Swim with friendly sea turtles and savour the tempting buffet
Barbados has its own “7 Wonders” and you can make it your vacation mission to find them all.
At the heart of Barbados lies one of its greatest wonders, Harrison’s Cave. Located in the central uplands of the island, this breathtakingly beautiful, crystallized limestone cavern is a testament to nature’s mastery. Flowing streams, deep pools of crystal clear water and towering columns characterize this living cave.
Two magnificent baobab trees, with possibly the widest tree-trunks to be found in the Caribbean, grow in Barbados! The largest can be seen in Queen's Park in Bridgetown. To give an example of the size of this tree, it is 50 feet around and takes 15 adults joining with outstretched arms to cover its circumference. This tree is estimated as being over one thousand years old! It is thought that a seed floated from Guinea, West Africa across the Atlantic Ocean to the shores of Barbados and eventually grew into this magnificent tree.
Barbados is the home of two Jacobean Mansions built in the 1650's – two of only three left in the Western hemisphere. Jacobean architecture refers to an English style of the early 17th century. Features of the Jacobean style include steep gable roofs, grand staircases and window bays with mullioned windows.
These historic buildings are St. Nicholas Abbey in the north of Barbados and Drax Hall in the center of the island. St. Nicholas Abbey is open to the public while Drax Hall is a private home.
Morgan Lewis Windmill is the only intact sugar mill in Barbados and one of only two intact sugar mills in Caribbean. It is located in the northern parish of St. Andrew overlooking the lush Scotland District and the eastern coastline of the island. Maintained by the Barbados National Trust, the mill includes an exhibit of the equipment used to produce sugar at the time when the industry was run by windpower generated from mills such as this one.
There is currently one synagogue situated in Bridgetown. Built in the 17th century (1654) it was destroyed by a hurricane in 1831, was rebuilt, fell into disrepair and was sold in 1929. In 1983, it was bought back by the Jewish community and was restored to its present state with its beautiful Gothic arches, and it is now a Barbados National Trust protected building and an active synagogue.
About 300 Jewish people from Recife, Brazil settled in Barbados in the 1660's to escape persecution by the Dutch. Skilled in the sugar industry, they quickly introduced the crop and passed on their skills in cultivation and production to the Barbados land owners. With their help Barbados went on to become one of the world's major sugar producers.
Barbados has the world's rarest collection of 17th century English iron cannon. Not too long ago it was decided to create a National Ordnance Collection of all the old guns on the island and to date more than 400 have been unearthed. The reason there were so many guns on the island was that during the 17th & 18th centuries Barbados was an important military base which the British used to protect their interests in the southern Caribbean. Twenty-six of the most important pieces in the collection are mounted in front of the Main Guard House at Garrison Savannah in Bridgetown.
There is an old Barbadian legend telling us that the "Grapefruit" was first developed in Barbados, in the beautiful Welchman Hall Gully. It was first recorded in the eighteenth century. Its parents were Shaddock and Sweet Orange, immigrants from across the Asian Sea and a natural cross-pollination resulted in Grapefruit.
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